So you’ve read our article on the best breadmakers, and baked yourself up a fresh loaf of delicious sourdough. However you know what’s even better than bread? Toast! Make up a few slices of toast, put some butter on that bad boy, and you’ve got yourself some good eating!
Not all toasters are created equal, so today we’ll be looking at 5 of the best toasters you can buy to make your breakfast worth waking up for!
Let’s start with an excellent model: De’Longhi are a consistently excellent company that marry good quality products with an excellent Italian design. The Brilliante is no different - it has a very eye-catching design in a variety of clean colours, accented by simple chrome. It’ll look excellent in your kitchen, nestled between the kettle and a half-finished pack of Hobnobs.
Outside of the design, the Brilliante is a very capable toaster - it has 4 separate slots, and the ability to use two of them separately, so you don’t waste power heating 4 slots when you only want one piece of toast. It’s got a lovely big dial on the front for choosing how brown you want the bread, and wide slots that will accommodate most standard slices of bread.
It’s not perfect though - it doesn’t have a defrost setting for frozen bread, and several user reviews mention that while it looks nice, the plastic casing actually feels quite flimsy. So, maybe not the bombproof, all-terrain toaster of your dreams. Still, an excellent 4-slice toaster for a reasonable price!
If there was ever such a thing as an iconic toaster, Dualit would be the one to claim that honour. Their toaster have a timeless simplicity to them, with a clean elegant design and a nice assortment of colours to choose from.
The Lite doesn’t just look good, it’s also an excellent toaster. It has a highly accurate browning control, meaning your toast is always perfectly cooked every time - apparently it measures the temperature of both the toaster and the surrounding area to work out the optimum toasting time/power for perfect toast. That’s some high-quality bread science right there!
The toaster also has many of the standard features you’d expect in a toaster - it has special functions for bagels or defrosting frozen bread, and a sandwich cage that can easily make toasties without the filling falling into the toaster.
However there is one problem with the Lite - Dualit use mechanical timers on their toasters, which provide a high degree of accuracy, but are prone to malfunctioning. I can attest to that: my old toaster was a Dualit, and used to get stuck routinely, meaning it was still toasting but the timer had jammed - meaning it would toast indefinitely until you noticed and prodded it unstuck. Not exactly helpful - so be careful with that.
This is also an expensive appliance - it’s over double the cost of the other toasters we’re reviewing today. It’s a lot of money to spend on a simple toaster, but you’re getting a top-quality product, and a real design statement at the same time. However the high price may well prove a dealbreaker for many people.
Let’s talk about sourdough for a moment. I love me some sourdough - my family has kept a starter going between us for a couple of decades now - but the loaves we bake tend to be longer, wider and flatter than standard sliced loaves. This is all well and good when you want to make bruscetta or a fantastic sandwich, but they fall down when you want some toast - the slices are too wide to fit in the toaster!
So the Kenwood TTP210 is made for me and my sourdough - the slots of this 2-slice toaster are extra long, meaning that almost any shape of bread will fit neatly inside. This alone makes it an excellent purchase - on top of the long slots, the TTP210 has a defrost function, an accurate browning control, and a rack for warming up buns or croissants.
It isn’t the cheapest model we’re reviewing - especially since it is only 2-slot - but it is worth the money if you frequently make your own bread rather than buying pre-sliced loaves. It is also not much to look at: the design is simple and utilitarian to a fault, with the featureless white front seeming bland when put next to the De’Longhi or Dualit toasters. However design isn’t everything - this is a good toaster that is excellent at what it does!
Sometimes you don’t want anything fancy - you just want a toaster that does the basics well and doesn’t cost the earth. The Luna 2-slice toaster from Russell Hobbs is just that - a cheap and well-designed toaster that does everything you want at a low price.
It is the cheapest toaster in this article, and handles the basics fine with no problem - it has an accurate browning control, defrost function and a removable crumb tray to stop things getting too messy. It also doesn’t look too bad in your kitchen either - it’s certainly not as plain as the Russell Hobbs model, and the two-tone grey and silver has a simple elegant design to it.
That said, there also isn’t much flash to this toaster - it doesn’t have many extra bells & whistles, especially compared to the more expensive models. More troublingly, it isn’t particularly big, so very thick or wide slices may get stuck or have to be cut in half. However despite these negatives, this is still a very good toaster for very little money - sometimes that’s all you need!
Finally, let’s look at something a bit different. Toast is all well and good, but what if you want more? Well the culinary mad scientists at Tefal have created the Toast n’ Egg - a 2-slice toaster with a small egg poacher bolted to the side! Yup, that’s right - this thing can poach eggs while toasting muffins at the same time, meaning this device is a one-stop machine for homemade Egg McMuffins! What could be better?
This may seem like a gimmick - and honestly it pretty much is - but the user reviews have been surprisingly positive, highlighting that the Toast n’ Egg works well and poaches a good egg. It seems like this may be a good kitchen gadget for easily creating a quick snack or breakfast, and makes for an unusual addition to your kitchen.
The toaster section of the device is as basic as you would expect - a standard 2-slice toaster with several browning levels and a defrost function. All in all it’s not the cheapest toaster around, and it definitely won’t win any design awards, but it scores points for doing something different from the others on our list. Not a bad little gadget, though possibly lacking in long-term appeal, since it can only really make poached eggs.